OUR AMERICAN LETTEB.
San Francisco, Octdber 20. The course of events, since I last wrote, does not suggest much cemment. We have had nothing out of the common, beyoild the burning of a negro ravisher at tko ktake by a mob, ' and the usual casualties by reason of the universal custom of bearing arms. I think a great deal of the violence which stains the present generation in America with blood ia duo to this cause. Nevertheless, the Lord Bishop of Kochestev.the other day, addressing the Protestant Episcopal Convention at Philadelphia, congratulated the United States upon being the niost religious country in the world 1 ; and, paradoxical as "it may seem from the terror of . 'many former letters, I think he was quite correct. Anyhow, we havo more of it than any other country, whatever its quality may be. There is a breeziness about our faith" that is refreshing, if peculiar, and when one gets used to it one comes to like it ; or, perhaps it does not strike one as being odd. The Protestant Episcopalians aforesaid have revised their rubric, adopting almost literally that of the Church of England, of which it is an off -shoot. Indeed, the tendency to swing back to the Mothet" Country in many things is a marked feature of the times in the United States, despite the Irish-American •"imitation and its political consequences. The truth is, there are so many sides to American life that it is impossible to present it as a whole. One can only deal with one or two aspects of it at a time, and, pursuing this process, the pictures do not always seem alike in their general features'. This is the season for religioua conventions, and besides the Episcopalians most other Protestant evangelical bodies have held, or are holding, their annual assemblies. The amount of money in the aggregate raised for religious purposes is very large, and if the giving of gold to the service of the Church ba a test of piety, then indeed was the Bishop of Rochester correct in his statement THE MORMON OHURCH ulso held its annual conference at Salt Lake City, at which satisfactory progress was reported, and a fresh batch of missionaries were sent forth to convert the world. The truth of the matter is this: Mormonism is making great gains in the States, despite local opposition and violence, and it ia sweeping I Northern Europe and England and Wales as with a besom. At their Conference the Mormon Apostles openly challenged the United States Government to suppress them, and John Taylor, President, of the Church, enjoined upon the people to hold fast to the celestial law of polygamy, without which eternal felicity was impossible. Contrary to popular thought on the subject, the women and young people of Utah are the strength and bulwark of the Church. This is a very renrarkable development of the religious socialistic idea, and, I am bound to say, on its economic and industrial sides, it is a very remarkable success. I have never heard of a veritable conversion of one born in Mormonism to any' Christian communion, while the conversa is of daily occurrence. Why this should be I leave to others to determine. It is sufficient here to note the fact. And by the way, let mo add this further to complete my religious notes, that the C urts have decided that the Church property, built in great part from money deposited in the Catholic Archespiscopal Bank of Cincinnati, is not liable for the debts of the Bank, so that the creditors of that pious fraud may blow their fingers to keep them warm. There were millions in the Purcell Bank ; whei'e are those millions now ? The Augustinian Bank swindle is likewise in course of liquidation East, but the creditors will never realise a cent, on the dollar. It has all gone to build churches, maintain seminaries to train young men for the priesthood, and in a variety of other ways to promote truth and godliness. This is the way of the Church in America, however, but as only good Catholics have been victimised, let not the ungodly complain. The Catholic bishops recently met in Convention at New York, and adopted rules for the better government of the Church in this country. These rules have been submitted to the Pope, and must be approved by the Roman Curia before being promulgated here. One of them is understood to forbid priests, bishops, or any ecclesiastical body from undertaking the banking business. It may prevent scandal, it will certainly protect the^ earnings of ignorant and confiding people from the mismanagement of clerical enthusiasts, who are without any financial knowledge or business capacity. THE POLITICAL OUTLOOK. Politics is the one great and absorbing inte rest in America. The United States is a government of the people, by the people, for the people, and they certainly make the most of it. There is an election of some kind almost every month in the year, which keeps affairs pretty much under popular control despite "machine politics" and '"bossism." When any question arises which stirs the hearts of the people, their purpose is always disclosed at the ballot-box. There all controversy ceases until - the time comes around for a new election. The great States of lowa and Ohio held gubernatorial elections on the 7th inst., in which the nation at large was interested. It was well understood that lowa would go Republican. It is the banner Republican State of the North-west ; but inasmuch as it had a constitutional amendment submitted to it for placing greater restrictions upon the liquor traffic, the result waa closely watched to ascertain the extent of the defection from the Republican party on that account. For be it understood the Democratic party champions thewhiskyandbeer interest throughout this country, and its recent gains have been through this alliance. lowa had adopted a constitutional amendment restricting the sale and manufacture of intoxicants, if not, indeed, for prohibiting it absolutely. The Act giving effect to this constitutional provision was nullified by the Court on a technicality, and the question was submitted to the Commonwealth of lowa on the 7th : shall the Legislature reenact this law? The Democracy said "No," the Republicans answered "Yes," and they carried the affirmative and their ticket by a sweeping majority. lowa is secure, and the cause of public morality and good government is in trustworthy hands. Not so in Ohio. That State, which made Hayes and Garfield President in succession, and practically captured the national administration a few years ago, has been lost to the Republicans on the liquor question. The Democracy, backed by the full German vote, last year elected the Secretary of State, in revenge for the Republicans carrying and enforcing a high license law. This year the fight was broadened by two constitutional amend merits — one of which enjoined restrictive legislation on the liquor traffic, the other absolutely prohibiting the manufacture or sale of beer, spirits, wine, &c. forever within the Commonwealth of Ohio. The women took the field in favour of prohibition, and ladies of rank and refinement peddled tickets on election day. The fight was a close one, but prohibition was defeated by about 10,000 votes on a total of
over 700,000, which Was the heaviest vote ever cast in Ohio. The Republicans were defeated, the Germans voting steadily for free beer with the rum sellers. It is now probable that the Democratic Legislature of Ohio will follow the example of the Democratic . Legislature of California elected on a similar issue, and. repeal the Sunday law, at the same time lowering the publican's license fee. But this question has got to be faced in America as a national one, and not as a side issue as heretofore. The Republican party must come out squarely against the liquor traffic or it will go to the wall. The people are getting tired of the rule of the rum seller, this feeling not being confined to total abstainers, but is becoming general among even free livers. The Ohio election has been a great discouragement to the Republican party, inasmuch as it is supposed to indicate that that State will go Democratic next fall when the Presidential electors are chosen. It is not safe to speculate either way ; but the vote will certainly be a close one. New York and several other States hold elections on the 7th of November proximo,- and as goes New York so goes the presidency. It is claimed that the Democrats will carry it by 20,000 majority. If so, the next President of the United States will be a Democrat, and probably also the monumental old fraud, Samuel J. Tilden. But these are speculations only. Next month will furnish data. NATIONAL FINANCE AND TRADE. Meanwhile the industries and commerce of the country go on expanding. There ia no bar to development ; no limit to the possibility of expansion. The 50 odd millions of people in the United States have hardly began to scratch its surface. There are vast regions of fertile and accessible land without inhabitant, to be had almost for the taking. There is room and to spare for the entire population of Europe. One cannot begin to estimate its advantages, because travel where one may and for weeks and months at a time, only new and striking possibilities are revealed. English capital is steadily drifting into tho United States, and finding profitable investment in land. Seven English estates, three of them owned by noblomen, comprise an area of over 4,000,000 acres. This in the pastoral and wheat regions of the far West and South-west. But the Pacific Slope, with its superlative resources, is becoming a favourite. There are possibilities for capital on this coast not to be found elsewhere in America ; and that is saying as much as need be said on the subject. Improved valley land is now selling from 50dol to 125d0l an acre that 10 years ago would barely have brought a fifth of the price, and when it is remembered that from 50dol to SOdol an acre annually is made on this very land by fruit-raising the price appears to be small. But there is so much equally good unimproved country to be had cheaper, that the average is kept low. I have in' mind 58,000 acres of well- watered land, near a leading port in the southern part of this State, which will raise anything produced in the temperate zone, excellent pasturage also, that may be bought for £3 (IMol) an acre, title perfect, and convenient railroad and steamboat connection with the outside world. These estates coming into the market, as I have said, keep down the price of land as compared ' with New Zealand, for example, where the territory is not so large ; but this fact is also turning English capital this way for investment. The new tariff and internal revenue law have made a hole in the national Treasury, but the receipts are still largely in excess of requirements. For the first three months ot the current fiscal year the "customs yielded 57,281,965d01, a falling off as compared with the corresponding period of 1882 of 9,447,184d01. Internal revenue yielded in the same period 28,912,441d01, a decrease of 9,537,520; and miscellaneous sources of income returned 7,136,305d01, showing a decline of 2,733,512d01. This is a total of nearly 20 million dollars decrease in revenue for the first quarter under our new tax system, or 80 million dollars a year. The country can well afford to stand this remission, and continue paying off the National Debt fast enough. In three years from now the arrears of pensions will be paid; and then a still larger reduction of taxation, co-ordinate with debt reduction, will be imperative, because there will be no pretence for raising so much revenue. In view of this fact, however, there are not wanting suggestions for transferring this large surplus into private, or rather corporate channels. For example, the Bankers' Convention in Louisville the other day suggested that the Government should withdraw t lie greenbacks, or legal tender notes from circulation, replacing them by a corresponding issue of national bank notes. This would be a good thing for the banks, but a bad thing for the people. The Government saves nterest on its paper currency of 346,000,000d01, which ia secured by specie in the Treasury vaults, and, since resumption of specie payments, is necessarily on par with gold. If ,ihowever, it withdrew the three hundred and forty odd million dollars currency as suggested, it would be compelled | to pay interest upon 90 per cent, of the banks' new issue, secured by Government bonds deposited with the Treasury, while the people handling this new issue of notes in the course of business would pay interest on the whole. A better banking device could not be hit upon, and it would absorb a considerable share of what is now available surplus revenue. But no such arrangement is possible. Another suggestion is that the country should buy up its own securities at 15 per cent, premium, issuing therefor long-dated bonds at 1\ per cent. The immediate effect of course would;be to increase the National Debt 15 per cent, and entail the payment of interest apparently at a lower rate for a long term of years, but in reality at a higher rate than at present by reason of the addition to the dobfc. Tlii= Uu, Treasury suggestion in the interest of inu bankers, but it will hardly be acted npun. Next session of Congress, however, will witness a trial for both. The exports of the United States largely exceeded imports in the 12 months ended August 31, 1883, as the following figures will show :— Imports .. .. 708,804,564001. Exports .. ■. 820,7i0,0i9d01. NEW ZEALAND AFFAIRS IN AMERICA. It appears to me, and to others equally well informed, that the Order-in-Council prohibiting the importation of live stock from the United States wa mistake. There is really no danger to apprehend from this side — none anyhow which quarantine could not sufficiently guard against. There is no rinderpest, foot and mouth disease, murrain, or whatever else it may be called in this country. The Texas fever is strictly localised, and is developed only when cattle are driven in large herds long distances without water. _ Owing to the tendency latterly to fence in cattle ranges in Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, the old system of " drives" is being abandoned, cattle being now generally transported by railway, which reduces the liability of an outbreak of the disease to a minimum. But none of these cattle have contact with the blooded herds or dairy Btock of the country, which are protected with the greatest vigilance. Just at a time when the New Zealand Stud and
Pedigree Company had opened a trade with ■ the Pacific coast, which would develope into large proportions, America is warned not to send any blooded stock to New Zealand, all countrie-3 being placed under ban except Australia,. This Is bad policy, seeing that it is wholly unnecessary ho far as we are concerned. 1 understand that 64 bulls and heifers from the Hereford herd of the New Zealand Company aro to arrive to order next steamer, due a week hence, for which an average of 400dol (£2O) each will be paid. Arrangements are being made for a monthly shipment, Mr Craig the local agent of the Company, having undertaken to establish a distributing farm on the Contra Costa Slope, near Oakland — a most suitable location. The substance of the New Zealand Order-in-Council, however, has been tele- . graphed all over the country, and unfavourably commented upon, and I should not be surprised if the American Breeders' Associa- | tion retaliate*! by procuring the exclusion of New Zealand stock. Upon other grounds, I think- this is regretable. The United States Government was beginning to take a lively interest in New Zealand, and was disposed to mako concessions to it which it would deny to any other British dependency, and JTist when proofs of* its friendbhip were not wanting, this prohibition of a growing trade comes upon us like a surprise. New Zealand profits more than America by its commercial intercourse and exchange with the latter. I hope that the subject may be reconsidered, and that the United States (excluding Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado) may be placed on the same plane as Australia. I almost suspect that the Australian pastoral interest prevailed upon New Zealand in this matter to its own hurt. They tried the same policy some 10 years ago, although it was from Australia that New Zealand originally borrowed the cattle disease. In this, as in all other matters, New Zealand ha 3 strength enough to stand alone. The New Zealand Insurance Company has just completed the purchase one of the finest blocks in California street, San Francisco, giving a frontage of GOft, with a depth of 124 ft back to Halleck street, upon which a six-storey pressed brick and granite buildiug will be ercctod. When the improvements are completed, the New Zealand Insurance Company will be represented here by the finest business block in the city. I have seen a drawing of the front elevation, which will dwarf all surrounding structures, and compel tho expenditure of capital by local and foreign corporations to keep pace with it. This purchase, when announced in the Post, created a great sensation in the city. It in a good investment, as the property would to-day sell for £5000 more than than the Company paid for it. In this the New Zealand Insurance Company exercised sound business sense. California, or rather tho Pacific coast generally, is tho right arm of New Zealand insurance and commercial institutions. They aro well represented all around. Mr Hill Jack ib hore at present on his way from Europe, and sails shortly for Japan, thence to Australia, and Now Zealand. Ho states that he has been greatly leased with the prospects and condition ot the business of the companies which he represents here, a much better feeling provailing among underwriters than on the occasion of his first visit. The fact is, everything is on a more permanent basis than it was five years ago, and throughout the State there is steady business progress. Mr Jack generally recognises the i .direct advantage to all New Zealand interests of the spirited policy of the New Zealand Company. ODDS AND ENDS, The flagship Swiftsure and the Sappho, of the Royal Navy, visited San Francisco harbour this week. The ironclad line of battle ship was a surprise to our American cousins, whose navy is rotting away. Very recently the Navy Department called for tenders for the purchase of 23 national ships, which cost the country in the neighbourhood of 10,000,000d01. No bid was made for two of them, 300,000d0l in the aggregate was off?red for 21. A year ago the Secretary of the Navy reported to Congress that one of these. The Dictator, a single turreted iron-clad, costing a million and a half dollars during the war, could be put into efficient fighting trim for 230,000d01. in repairs : she sold for 40,200d01. This is a sample of the rest, and I fear that John Roach's contract to build the new steel cruisers will not greatly strengthen Uncle Sam's navy. Mexico wants to borrow lO.OOO^OOdoI. (two millions sterling), and it offers its bonds at a discount of 16 per cent, on face value and 9 per cent, interest. This marks the status of Mexico's credit. You can do infinitely better, with all your debt, in New Zealand. In the long run it pay s^a country to keep faith with the public creditor. We have had great exhibitions of speed on the- race-tracks of this country. Two colts from Governor Stanford's Palo Alto stable, described by me in a former letter, made the fastest time on record tor three and four year olds respectively. I saw these beautiful creatures before thoy were ever exhibited in public, and had proof of their wonderful speed and staying qualities. Jay Eye See, an Eastern horse, has distanced all competition for horses over four years, except Maud S. and St. Julien ; and a match is to be set with St. Julien, the famous California trotter, for the championship. I hope St. Julien will win, but it looks somewhat doubtful. He has tpeen overworked this season, A pacer named Johnston, which would not have fetched 2000 dol — a white horse at that — before his great achievement of pacing a mile in 2.10, sold the next day for 20,000d01. Jim Keene is working off his Btud. Foxhall, winner of the Grand Prize, is for sale. Sir Sidney Waterlow has been visiting San Francisco with his wife, who is a native of this State. Accompanied by a large party from the Golden State,_the Waterlows have sailed for Japan and China, from whence they proceed to Australia, and will take in New Zealand on their way round the world. Sir Sidney has expressed aldermanic views of things here. He is not averse to being interviewed, but I do not perceive anything in his opinions entitling* them to much weight. He has a parochial mind. I would rather accept your own past Superintendent Macandrew's observations upon men and things than I would those of the past Lord Mayor of London's. A very different kind of personage is going direct to Australia by the Zealandia, and will probably visit your country before returning to England. I refer to the Earl of Rosebery , the coming Liberal leader of the Lords, and Mr Gladstone's especial pet. Earl Rosebery is accompanied by the Countess, one of the Rothschilds. This lady has not forsaken the old faith, for she visited the synagogue at the Feast of Yum Kipper, and after remaining at her devotions for some time, she left a handsome donation for the distressed of Israel. Lord Rosebery has been taking in all that can be seen of California, and goes away well posted on our institutions and methods. I perceive that notfa few of your public men believe in " protection to native industries," in other words, in limited production and high prices. Well, Canada has tr\ed that, and is now reaping the fruitsof its folly. Having shut out foreign competition it soon, under the etimxUus of a high tariff, produced a surplus
over home production. Among other industries thus stimulated was sugar refining, Now it was necessary to import unrefined sugar, on which a duty of Idol 75c per 1001b is paid. Tho Canadian refiners now demand an export bounty of 3dol 15c per 1001b to enable them to Compete in Newfoundland and the West Indies with Amorican sugar. And the Government is said to entertain the proposition favourably. Why not admit raws duty free and let the people get the advantage of cheap sugar. Let me thank you for publishing my letter in self-defence ; and also for your very temperate editorial comments. Upon suen v a wide range of thought and .practice it is, of course, impossible to expect everyone's views to harmonise. Jacob Terbt.
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OUR LETTERS., Otago Witness, Issue 1670, 24 November 1883
OUR LETTERS. Otago Witness, Issue 1670, 24 November 1883
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